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Spurs overpower Wizards with balanced effort, superior bench

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The Washington Wizards have one of the best young guard tandems in the league, but the Spurs have the more talented roster. They comfortably defeated the Wizards behind a throwback performance from Tony Parker and solid efforts from LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards have two talented young guards in Bradley Beal and John Wall, but their lack of depth and cohesiveness cost them as they couldn't keep up with the Spurs, who used their superior talent and depth to put away the Wizards. Tony Parker sliced and diced in the lane in a throwback game, and Kawhi and LaMarcus had solid games, but the Spurs really put the game away with their bench. Jonathon Simmons had his best game since game one of the regular season. He played with great energy and decisiveness on both sides of the floor, not only making dunks, but also blocking Wizard dunks on the other end. Patty Mills also shone, scoring 13 points and knocking down threes at key points in the game.

Game Flow:

Marcin Gortat scored the first basket for the Wizards, and then played great defense on Pau Gasol on the other end, but to no effect, as Pau hit a long jumper as the shot clock expired to tie it up at 2-2. The Wizards used good offensive movement and hot shooting to surge to a 9-4 lead. Aldridge backed down Markeiff Morris and hit an easy layup on a spin move, and Kawhi followed with an and-one to even the score. Morris and Kawhi traded threes to even the score at 12. Patty Mills entered the game and scored 5 quick points to put the Spurs up by 3 at 17-14. Otto Porter hit a layup and got fouled to tie it up for the Wiz. The bench came in late in the quarter and a spectacular block from Davis Bertans and a drive from David Lee put the Spurs up by two. After a Washington three, Lee dunked again. The Spurs outworked the Wizards in the quarter to end up leading 23-22 at the end of one.

Patty scored the first three points of the second quarter from the baseline. A spectacular almost dunk from Jonathon Simmons led to a pair of free throws. Parker hit a layup in the lane, and the Spurs surged to a seven point lead. A Jason Smith floater cut the lead to five, which led to a Gregg Popovich timeout. After Tony Parker somehow stole an offensive rebound from Gortat, he was fouled to restore the lead. Then Tony scored an and-one on Smith to balloon the lead to 10. A few possessions later, Danny Green hit a ridiculous double pump three-point shot, avoiding the block and somehow hitting the shot.

Jonathon Simmons hit a three from the elbow and the lead increased to 13 with just over two minutes left in the half. The lead peaked at 15, but timely baskets from Beal and Gortat kept the margin within reach for the Wizards. David Lee's tip-in at the buzzer was just too late, and the Spurs went into the locker room leading 54-44.

Danny opened the second half with a three-point shot and a patented Kawhi steal and breakaway dunk pushed the lead back to 15. A pair of free throws and a dunk from Markieff Morris helped cut the lead back to 10. LaMarcus hit a jumper, but Beal answered with a three to cut the lead to single digits. Emotions ran high for Morris, who called the ref an obscenity, and earned a quick ejection early in the third quarter,

The Wizards seemed to be energized and began to get some baskets in transition. Kawhi, having nothing of that, took the ball into the lane and scored it. The Spurs resurged and with a LaMarcus three, maintained a healthy 12 point margin. With about three minutes left in the third, the Spurs bench returned but turned the ball over, which led Pop to reinsert Kawhi. This substitution paid immediate dividends with a Patty three and a Kawhi assist on a Simmons dunk.

Jonathon stole the ball from Ian Mahinmi on the next play leading to a foul and free throws, and the good guys took a 16 point lead. The Wizards continued to grind with Beal and Wall, but the Spurs closed the quarter out with Kawhi carrying the load and after three quarters, the Spurs led 90-76. Pop didn't seem particularly impressed by it.

The Spurs started the fourth with solid defense leading to a 24 second violation for the Wizards. Simmons erased the basket with an incredible chasedown block on the ensuing possession.

After a timeout, Pau Gasol found Aldridge open at the basket for an easy dunk to extend the lead. With Markieff Morris out of the game, LaMarcus continued to feast on Otto Porter and score easily on post ups. Bradley Beal did his part to keep the lead from getting out of control, but he didn't have enough help as the Spurs lead ballooned to a game-high 17 points. A Jonathon Simmons putback on a LaMarcus miss brought the lead to 105-88.

The Spurs went a little cold and the Wizards went on a 6-2 mini-run, leading to a timeout for the Silver and Black with 2:40 left in the game. After a turnover which led to an easy basket from John Wall, the Spurs settled down and brought it home. Finally, with just over a minute left in the game, the deep bench entered and the game ended with the Spurs winning 112-100.

Observations:


  • The video of Bradley Beal choking Evan Fournier was played about a million times in the pregame on NBA TV. Usually when you talk about a player choking, you don't mean choking another player.
  • Commenter snookum#6 suggested headlines of 'Wizards hit a Wall in Spurs' or 'Bertans hits new scoring high' before the game started. One out of two isn't bad.
  • I don't think players on other teams know who Davis Bertans is yet, because they keep exposing the ball for him to block instead of using the other hand or the basket to protect their shot.
  • The Spurs bench makes the Wizards bench look really bad, outscoring them 35-18. That's because they really are bad, even Wizards center Marcin Gortat thinks they are the worst in the league. They're not – they're just 29th out of 30 teams.
  • Even with a big lead late in the game, Pop kept most of his starters, along with Simmons, in to finish late, probably remembering the near-disaster last week in Sacramento. The end of the bench, including Dejounte Murray and Bryn Forbes, finally saw the court with just over a minute left and a 15 point lead.
  • When Markieff Morris took himself out of the game with a stupid technical foul, it really hurt his team, who didn't have anyone else who could defend LaMarcus Aldridge in the post. I feel like Kieff should be a much better player than he is, but his inability to control his emotions makes him check out just when his team needs him.
  • LaMarcus led the team in scoring even though he seemed pretty quiet for most of the game. His domination inside in the fourth quarter helped to put the game away.

Musical Interlude:

[Relevance: none, I just really like this song.]

Next up:

The Spurs record is now 14-3 and they are tied with the Clippers for second place in the Western Conference, just half a game behind the team that wears Blue and Gold from the Bay Area. Next, the Spurs return home to face the Orlando Magic on Tuesday at 7:30 pm.